NYC Council Health Committee Chair Levine Praises Leadership of Health Commissioner Barbot; Warns Against ‘Political Interference’ in City’s COVID-19 Response


PRESS RELEASE FOR: August, 4th, 2020 

Contact: Winthrop Roosevelt 917-842-5748 // [email protected] 

New York - In response to the resignation of New York Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot over the de Blasio Administration’s handling of the city’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine issued the following statement:

“The departure of Dr. Oxiris Barbot as New York City’s Health Commissioner is a grave blow to the fight for public health here.  Dr. Barbot has stood up fearlessly and consistently on behalf of science, no matter how strong the opposition.  Her loss is a major setback in our fight against this pandemic.

“Public health leaders from Washington to New York City have come under intense attack during this crisis--especially when what science tells us has not been politically popular.  It is critical that New York City’s health department remains independent of political interference, and that it be free to pursue policy based on data and expertise. I fear that Dr. Barbot’s departure makes that less likely.

“New York City is fortunate to have had a leader of the caliber of Dr. Barbot at the helm of the health department during the first 6 months of this crisis.  I have been honored to work with her, and wish her much success.”





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CM Levine, Treyger: Support Needed for Students, School Staff Affected by Harmful Conditions Around Ground Zero

City Hall, NYToday, to mark the eighteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine and Education Committee Chair Mark Treyger renewed their efforts to require the New York City Department of Education to account for public school staff and students who were exposed to the dangerous conditions around Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks.  

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CM Levine, Rosenthal, Chin and BP Brewer Introduce Resolution Calling for Ban on Helicopter Travel over New York City


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Contact: Win Roosevelt 917-842-5748, [email protected]


City Hall, NY -- Today, Council Member Mark Levine introduced a resolution calling on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ban all non-essential helicopter travel over New York City.

The resolution, co-sponsored by Council Members Rosenthal and Chin and supported by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, comes after another high-profile helicopter crash in June took the life of the pilot and caused significant damage to a midtown skyscraper. This latest accident marked the thirtieth crash of a non-essential helicopter and twentieth death over the past several decades in New York City airspace.

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What You Need to Know - Important Information Regarding Potential ICE Immigration Raids for July 14th-18th

Good Afternoon, 

With the news that Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are planning potential immigration raids for July 14th-18th in New York City, we recognize that many immigrant families are worried about what these could mean for their themselves, their families, and their friends.

It is important for immigrant families to know they have rights and resources they can use to gain assistance if they are targeted in these raids. 

Please find important information including fact sheets, phone hotlines and other NYC resources available to you, your family or friends if you are targeted below.  

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Council Member Levine Celebrates Victory for Community Public Health Programs, City Parks in Budget

Article 6 Funding Cut by State Restored; City Park Workers FInally Given Employment Stability

***MEDIA ADVISORY*** FOR: June 14, 2019***

Contact: Win Roosevelt 917-842-5748// [email protected]

City Hall, NY -- Today, City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine and public health advocates from across the city are celebrating $6 million in funding in the 2020 city budget that will restore “Article 6” programs recently cut out of the New York State Budget. Article 6 funds programs that support immigrant health, city public health outreach, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, child and maternal health, viral hepatitis, and more.

“Article 6 funds are critical to New York City’s ability to wage a wide range of public health battles and it was completely indefensible that Albany only eliminated our city's funds while targeting no other place in the state,” said Council Member Levine. “Restoring this funding will keep intact essential public health programs focused on improving health outcomes for vulnerable New Yorkers. If we had allowed the Albany cuts to stand, it would have been a major setback for health equity in our city.”


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Landlord Housing Reforms Set to be Passed by Council

Council Member Levine also calls on the State Legislature to increase transparency as part of Rent Reform package

CONTACT: Win Roosevelt // [email protected]

City Hall, New York -- Two bills introduced by Council Member Mark Levine to strengthen protections for renters are set to be passed by the City Council tomorrow, May 8th.

Introduction 1274 will require landlords of rent stabilized units to provide individuals with active tenancies four years of rental history. Armed with rent history, tenants are able to see if they are overcharged for their homes. It will also help prevent landlords from illegally removing units from stabilization while making it easier for the City to enforce existing laws that protect and preserve stabilized units.

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Right to Counsel NYC Coalition & Council Members Introduce New Bill to Empower Tenant Organizing

**Release** April 18, 2019

CONTACT: Jake Sporn, [email protected] (Levine)
   Alyssa Figueroa, (201) 921-3249, [email protected] (RTC Coalition)

City Hall – Today, NYC Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa L. Gibson were joined by the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition for a press conference announcing new legislation that would require the City of New York to work with trusted tenant organizing groups to engage and educate tenants about their rights. The bill would strengthen the City’s landmark Right to Counsel (RTC) by ensuring that all tenants know about the new RTC law, understand it, and use it as a tool to address housing issues.

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Health Chair Levine Calls to End “Flat Tummy” Tea Sales to Minors

*RELEASE* April 11, 2019
Contact: Jake Sporn, [email protected]

City Hall, NY -- City Council Health Chair Mark Levine has introduced legislation that would ban the sale of products such as ‘detox teas’ and ‘flat-tummy’ lollipops to minors in NYC.

The non-Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved products have greatly risen in popularity in recent years, in large part due to aggressive celebrity promotion on social media, headlined by non-other than influencers like the Kardashians. The new legislation seeks to both curb teen access to the potentially dangerous products, and raise awareness about the issue of their marketing tactics and effect on those struggling with eating disorders.

Citing safety concerns, Health Chair Levine’s legislation would make it illegal to sell products whose active ingredients include senna, a laxative; and saffron, an appetite suppressant, to those under 18 in the City of New York.

Said Harvard Medical School Professor Dr. S. Bryn Austin, “Dietary supplements sold for detox or weight loss are snake oil, plain and simple. Weight loss claims for these products are either outright sham or a result of adulteration of the products with potentially dangerous stimulants, laxatives or diuretics.”

“We need to call these products out for what they are: a dangerous scam,” said Council Health Chair Levine. “There’s no legitimate basis for a teenager to buy ‘detox’ teas--which are laxatives masquerading as a wellness health product--or ‘flat-tummy’ lollipops--which are candy-coated appetite suppressants. In the rare case a young person has a legitimate medical need, it should be discussed with their parents, their doctor or a certified nutrition expert. These products are not FDA approved and there are serious questions their effects.”

Detox teas are technically dietary supplements, meaning they aren't subject to pre-market screening by the FDA, however the federal agency has reported over 13 deaths from laxative tea abuse and cautions that those “with certain health conditions should ask a healthcare professional before using these products because they may be at increased risk for harmful side effects” such as dehydration, cardiac arrhythmia, and severe kidney damage. Consuming detox teas can even interfere with birth control according to Skinny-Teatox, a company that sells senna-based teas.

Health Chair Levine also said, “I’m hopeful this legislation will begin to call attention to this issue while also shielding minors from the threat dangers of relying on products like these. We need to step up and send a better message to young people about healthy nutrition, not dangerous shortcuts like ‘flat-tummy’ lollipops.”


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Upper Manhattan Street to be Co-Named for Former Community Activist & State Assembly Member, Marie Runyon

**ADVISORY** April 5, 2019
CONTACT: Jake Sporn // [email protected]

Morningside Heights, NY – This Sunday, April 7th at 2pm, Council Member Levine will be unveiling “Marie Runyon Way” at the northeast corner of Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive in Upper Manhattan.

Marie Runyon, born on March 20, 1915, was known for challenging Columbia University’s expansion plans in Harlem and Morningside Heights. Columbia’s College of Pharmaceutical Sciences was hoping to demolish the Columbia-owned apartment buildings as part of the university’s master plan to accommodate more students and replace antiquated facilities. She spearheaded her own protests, as well as rent strikes and legal action against the evictions and won most of her suits under rent control protections. In 1996, Columbia announced that it would no longer seek to evict the people still living in her building and in 2002, Columbia announced that a renovated building was being renamed Marie Runyon Court.

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Council to Pass First-in-the-Nation Bill Providing Relief to Sexual Abuse Survivors by Amending Birth Certificates

**RELEASE** March 28th, 2019
CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // [email protected]

City Hall, NY -- Today, the NY City Council is expected to pass legislation—initially opposed by the Administration—sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine that would require the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) Office of Vital Records to redact from birth certificates the name of physicians whose license has been surrendered, or revoked by the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC), which licenses and disciplines physicians.

Council Member Levine was moved to sponsor this legislation after hearing survivor/advocate Marissa Hoechstetter’s story, as she unsuccessfully sought to have the name of the OB/GYN who sexually assaulted her while she was pregnant removed from her twin daughters’ birth certificates but was denied. Without a clear precedent for how to eliminate a physician’s name from the record, the Council Member’s office attempted to intercede on Ms. Hoechstetter’s behalf, but was told she would need an order from the State Supreme Court to have the doctor’s name stricken from her children’s birth certificates.

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